The U.S.S. CONSTITUTION
Just another operation in which the Navy excelled....
The following is a tale from the history of the oldest
commissioned warship in the world, the U.S.S. Constitution. It comes by way of the National Park Service,as printed in "Oceanic Ships
Fore And Aft", a periodical from the Oceanographer of the U.S. Navy.
On 23 August 1779, the U.S.S. Constitution set sail from Boston,
loaded with 475 officers and men ,48,600 gallons of water,74,000 cannon shot,11,500 pounds of black powder, and 79,400 gallons of
rum. Her mission: To destroy and harass English shipping.
On 6 October she made Jamaica, took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons
of rum.Three weeks later, Constitution reached the Azores, where she provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 6,300 gallons of Portugese
On 18 November she set sail for England where her crew captures and scuttled 12 English merchant vessels and took aboard their
rum. By this time, Constitution had run out of shot.Nevertheless she made her way unarmed up the Firth Of Clyde for a night raid.
Here,her landing party captured a whiskey distillery, transferred 40,000 gallons aboard and headed for home.
On 20 February 1780,the
Constitution arrived in Boston with no cannon shot, no powder, no food, no rum and no whiskey. She did, however, still carry her crew
of 475 officers and men and 48,600 gallons of water.
The math is quite enlightening.
--Length of cruise : 181 days
gallons per man per day ( this does not include the unknown quatity of rum captured from the 12 English merchant vessels in November).
U.S. Naval historians guesstimate the re-enlistment rate from this cruise to be 100%.
It also marks the last time the Navy was awarde
the EPA Award of Gold Certificate for water conservation.
( The Constitution is berthed in Boston Harbor and sails every July 4 for
a turn -around)